Display and adjust points with the Subselection tool

  1. Select the Subselection tool .
  2. Click the line or shape outline.

Reshape a line or shape

To reshape a line or shape outline, drag any point on a line using the Selection tool. The pointer changes to indicate what type of reshaping it can perform on the line or fill.

Animate adjusts the curve of the line segment to accommodate the new position of the moved point. If the repositioned point is an end point the line will lengthen or shorten. If the repositioned point is a corner, the line segments forming the corner remain straight as they become longer or shorter.

When a corner appears next to the pointer, you can change an end point. When a curve appears next to the pointer, you can adjust a curve.

Some brush stroke areas are easier to reshape if you view them as outlines.

If you are having trouble reshaping a complex line, smooth it to remove some of its details, making reshaping easier. Increasing the magnification can also make reshaping easier and more accurate.

  1. Select the Selection tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To reshape the segment, drag from any point.

    • To drag a line to create a new corner point, control-click (Windows) or Option-click (Macintosh).

Straighten and smooth lines

Straightening makes small straightening adjustments to lines and curves you already drew. It has no effect on segments that are already straight.


To adjust the degree of automatic smoothing and straightening, specify preferences for drawing settings.

To make Animate recognize shapes, use the straightening technique. If you draw any oval, rectangular, or triangular shapes with the Recognize Shapes option turned off, use the Straightening option to make the shapes geometrically perfect. Shapes that are touching, and thus connected to other elements, are not recognized.

Shape recognition turns the top shapes into the bottom shapes.

Smoothing softens curves and reduces bumps or other variations in a curve’s overall direction. It also reduces the number of segments in a curve. Smoothing is relative, however, and has no effect on straight segments. It is particularly useful when you are having trouble reshaping a number of very short curved line segments. Selecting all the segments and smoothing them reduces the number of segments, producing a gentler curve that is easier to reshape.

Repeated application of smoothing or straightening makes each segment smoother or straighter, depending on how curved or straight each segment was originally.

  • To smooth the curve of each selected stroke, select the Selection tool and click the Smooth modifier  in the Options section of the Tools panel. Each click of the Smooth modifier button makes the selected stroke progressively smoother.

  • To enter specific parameters for a smoothing operation, choose Modify > Shape > Smooth. In the Smooth dialog box, enter values for the Smooth Angles Above, Smooth Angles Below, and Smoothing Strength parameters.

  • To make small straightening adjustments on each selected fill outline or curved line, select the Selection tool  and click the Straighten modifier  in the Options section of the Tools panel.

  • To enter specific parameters for a straightening operation, choose Modify > Shape > Straighten. In the Straighten dialog box, enter a value for the Straighten Strength parameter.

  • To use shape recognition, select the Selection tool  and click the Straighten modifier , or select Modify > Shape > Straighten.

Optimize curves

Optimizing smooths curves by refining curved lines and filling outlines, reducing the number of curves used to define these elements. Optimizing curves also reduces the size of the Flash Professional document (FLA file) and the exported Animate application (SWF file). Apply optimization to the same elements multiple times.

  1. Select the drawn elements to optimize and select Modify > Shape > Optimize.
  2. To specify the degree of smoothing, drag the Optimization Strength slider. The results depend on the curves selected. Generally, optimizing produces fewer curves, with less resemblance to the original outline.
  3. To display a message indicating the number of segments in the selection before and after the optimization, select the Show Totals Message option. Animate displays the message after the operation completes.

  4. Click OK.

Modify shapes

  1. To convert lines to fills, select a line or multiple lines and select Modify > Shape > Convert Lines To Fills. Selected lines are converted to filled shapes, which allows you to fill lines with gradients or to erase a portion of a line. Converting lines to fills can make file sizes larger, but it can also speed up drawing for some animations.
  2. To expand the shape of a filled object, select a filled shape, and select Modify > Shape > Expand Fill. Enter a value in pixels for Distance and select Expand or Inset For Direction. Expand enlarges the shape, and Inset reduces it.

    This feature works best on a single, small, filled color shape with no stroke, that does not contain many small details.

  3. To soften the edges of an object, select a filled shape, and select Modify > Shape > Soften Fill Edges. Set the following options:


    The width, in pixels, of the soft edge.

    Number Of Steps

    Controls how many curves are used for the soft edge effect. The more steps you use, the smoother the effect. Increasing steps also creates larger files and slows drawing.

    Expand Or Inset

    Controls whether the shape is enlarged or reduced to soften the edges.

    This feature works best on a single filled shape that has no stroke, and can increase the file size of a Animate document and the resulting SWF file.

Delete everything on the Stage

  1. Double-click the Eraser tool  in the toolbar. This erases all types of content on the Stage and pasteboard.

Remove stroke segments or filled areas

  1. Select the Eraser tool, and then click the Faucet modifier .
  2. Click the stroke segment or filled area to delete.

Erase by dragging

  1. Select the Eraser tool.
  2. Click the Eraser Mode modifier and select an erasing mode:
    Eraser mode modifiers
    Eraser mode modifiers

    Erase Normal

    Erases strokes and fills on the same layer.

    Erase Fills

    Erases only fills; strokes are not affected.

    Erase Lines

    Erases only strokes; fills are not affected.

    Erase Selected Fills

    Erases only the currently selected fills and does not affect strokes, selected or not. (Select the fills to erase before using the Eraser tool in this mode.)

    Erase Inside

    Erases only the fill on which you begin the Eraser stroke. If you begin erasing from an empty point, nothing is erased. Strokes are unaffected by the eraser in this mode.

  3. Click the Eraser Shape modifier and select an eraser shape and size. Make sure that the Faucet modifier is not selected.
    Eraser shapes
    Eraser shapes

    Use the horizontal scroll bar to adjust the size of the Eraser shape. 

  4. Customize, delete, or edit the customized shape. Click the Add Custom Eraser shape icon adjacent to Eraser shape icon to create your customized Eraser shape. Choose the shape, angle and flatness to define the Nib properties. Click OK to create the customized shape.

  5. Drag on the Stage.

Using Pressure and Tilt modifiers

Pressure and Tilt options are added to Eraser tool to enhance drawing options.

Pressure and Tilt options
Pressure and Tilt options

Select Eraser tool and select the  icon from the tool bar to enable pressure sensitivity or select the  icon to enable tilt sensitivity. The default percentage values are 1% and 100% corresponding to the minimum and maximum values of Pressure/Tilt.

Use the eraser tool to create variable-width strokes based on pressure or tilt applied on the Eraser.

A sample drawing drawn with the help of Eraser Pressure and Tilt options is shown below for illustration:

Illustration showing application of Pressure and Tilt options
Illustration showing application of Pressure and Tilt options